Press release

National Citizen Service helps young people to get ahead

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Independent research confirms that the National Citizen Service (NCS) is giving young people the skills and confidence to get ahead.

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9 out of 10 participants believe National Citizen Service (NCS) has given them the chance to develop skills that will be useful in the future, while nearly three-quarters felt more self-assured about getting a job, according to an independent report published today.

The report by NatCen Social Research, a leading social research institute, has revealed significant impacts in the second year of NCS – the flagship government-backed programme – particularly around the skills that young people need to get ahead in work and life: teamwork, communication and leadership.

Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society, commented:

Two things really please us about this research. The first is that rapid NCS growth is not coming at the cost of quality. The second is that the very positive impacts on young people appear to stick over time. This gives us the confidence to press ahead with really ambitious expansion plans. Young people love NCS because of the chance to make new friends, learn valuable skills and do something very positive for their community. We want every 16-year-old to have this opportunity.

The findings show that NCS is giving 16-and 17-year olds the chance to hone their entrepreneurial skills, with an 18% uplift in the number of young people who said that they felt confident about leading a team thanks to NCS. This is compared with only a 1% increase in the group of young people questioned as part of the study who had not taken part in NCS.

86% stated that following the programme they felt comfortable with teamwork, and 79% that they were confident in meeting new people. NCS participants also reported that they were more prepared for the increasingly diverse workplaces of the future. 95% believed that they had a chance to know people they wouldn’t mix with, and this was shown to be instrumental in increasing confidence in relation to teamwork and communication.

The programme is helping young people to express their ideas more clearly and put forward their creative suggestions, with over 7/10 stating they now felt better about doing this, compared with over 5/10 at the start of the programme.

The new research also includes longitudinal analysis of 2011 participants, which shows that participants’ perceptions of the impact of NCS one year after the start of the programme were very positive. 9/10 agreed that NCS had “given them a better understanding of what life is like for people who are different to me”, with a similar proportion agreeing they had developed skills that “have been useful for me in my study, work or training”.

An independent organisation is being created to support the expansion of the government programme. Stephen Greene, Chair of the NCS Trust, commented:

It’s great news to hear that NCS is receiving such a positive response from the very people this programme was created for. Building young people’s confidence, prospects and motivation for education and employment is what NCS delivers. For many 16-and 17-year-olds, NCS gives them the tools, skills and belief to unlock their potential while making a positive impact in their schools, colleges and communities.

Notes to editors

NCS (National Citizen Service) is a once in a lifetime opportunity open to all 16-and 17-year olds across England. It is a unique 3 week full-time programme, plus 30 hours committed to a community project, focused on fun and discovery, that benefits both young people and society. Participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, learning new skills, making new friends and contributing to their community.

Government support means that it costs just £50 or less to take part in NCS and bursaries are available on a case-by-case basis. NCS represents great value for money for parents, as participants spend 2 weeks away from home with all meals and activities covered. The first week is spent at an outward-bound facility participating in activities such as abseiling, water rafting and canoeing. In the second week teens live away from home, typically at local university halls of residence, learning how to be self-sufficient, developing new skills and finding out more about the needs of their local community.

Taking place outside school/term time, teens can sign up for the part-residential experience and participate in either the spring, summer or autumn programmes. In every programme they will experience 4 sections that focus on personal and social development including leadership, teamwork and communication skills. Not only do 16- and 17-year-olds have the chance to give something back, but it also looks great on CVs and helps with job, college and university applications, building future aspirations. NCS is now recognised by UCAS and taking part is a sought-after addition to any CV.

NCS Trust, an independent social enterprise, is being set up to manage NCS and execute the ambitious expansion of the government-backed programme.

To find out more information about NCS or to sign up to NCS visit NCSyes.co.uk. Like us on facebook.com/ncs, follow us on Twitter @ncs or subscribe to the NCSYes channel on YouTube.

Published 31 July 2013